Disabled worker? It May Pay to Offer Commuting Accommodations


Most district courts have ruled that an employee’s work commute falls outside of their employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations according to the ADA. However, a few courts have expanded the ADA to take a worker’s commute into consideration. For instance, in Colwell v. Rite Aid Corp (602 F.3d 495, 3rd Cir., 2010) the court ruled that the employer was obligated to accommodate a worker with vision problems, by providing her with a shift schedule that allowed her to avoid driving at night when her vision is at its poorest. The court determined that the shift schedule accommodation pertained to a workplace condition that was under the employer’s control and would affect the employee’s ability to get to work.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.